Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown

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In 1688, the birth of a Prince of Wales ignited a family quarrel-and a revolution. James II's drive towards Catholicism had alienated the nation and his two staunchly Protestant daughters by his first marriage, Mary and Anne, the "ungrateful daughters" who eventually usurped their father's crown and stole their half-brother's birthright.

Seven prominent men sent an invitation to William of Orange-James's nephew and son-in-law-to intervene in English affairs. But Mary and Anne also played a key role. Jealous and resentful of her hated stepmother, Anne had written a series of malicious letters to Mary in Holland, implying that the Queen's pregnancy was a hoax-a Catholic plot to deny Mary her rightful inheritance.

Distraught from being betrayed by his own children, James fled the kingdom. And even as the crown descended on her head, Mary knew she had incurred a father's curse. The sisters quarreled to the day of Mary's death at age 32. Anne did nothing to earn her father's forgiveness, and she declared her brother an outlaw with a price on his head.

Acclaimed historian Maureen Waller re-creates the late Stuart era in a compelling narrative that highlights the influence of the royal women on one of the most momentous events in English history. Prompted by religious bigotry and the emotions that beset every family relationship, this palace coup changed the face of the monarchy, and signaled the end of a dynasty.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
"Maureen Waller frames an absorbing narrative of the Glorious Revolution."
The Washington Times
"...a family drama reported with a keen ear for delicious, gossipy detail and a satisfying willingness to take sides..."
From the Publisher
"An absorbing narrative of the Glorious Revolution"

The New York Times

"Waller, using Stuart family letters and an impressive array of secondary sources, has written a highly readable, thoroughly researched family saga that shows vividly how the personal and the political interacted to produce one of the seminal events in British history."

Publishers Weekly

"A stirring and important story....Colorful period details and vivid portraits of legendary figures like the great Duke of Marlborough: lively, instructive history."

Kirkus Reviews

"Waller makes an enthralling family saga out of the Glorious Revolution....[Ungrateful Daughters] is stimulating and enjoyable."

—Antonia Fraser, bestselling author of Marie Antoinette

Publishers Weekly
In November 1688, the Protestant Prince William of Orange landed in England with an invading Dutch army. The Catholic King of Britain, James II, prepared to meet William in battle, but the unpopular James soon found himself deserted by his army and navy-and, most surprisingly, by his own daughters. Crestfallen, James fled to France, and William became king. This "Glorious Revolution," London-based historian Waller (1700: Scenes from London Life) tells us, was largely the product of a family feud. James's eldest daughter, Mary, was married to William, who was also James's nephew. James's other daughter, Anne, also defected to William. Why did both daughters betray their father at his hour of greatest need? Waller believes it was partly religion-the fervently Catholic James had failed to convert his Protestant daughters and nation. Moreover, Princess Anne loathed her Catholic stepmother, Queen Mary Beatrice. When the queen became pregnant in late 1687, Anne claimed the pregnancy was a papist hoax. As for Mary, she supported her husband, William, and her Anglican faith. Neither Mary nor Anne had children, and Anne eventually became the last Stuart monarch. Waller, using Stuart family letters and an impressive array of secondary sources, has written a highly readable, thoroughly researched family saga that shows vividly how the personal and the political interacted to produce one of the seminal events in British history. 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Waller (1700: Scenes from London Life) re-creates the political intrigues and machinations of the "duplicitous" daughters of James II, which resulted in the Glorious Revolution and the end of the Stuart dynasty in England. Dominant in the five-page listing of the "cast of characters" in this narrative double biography are Princess Mary of Orange, later Queen Mary II, and Princess Anne of Denmark, later Queen Anne. Neither Mary nor Anne "expressed remorse" for the part they played in the plots "to end their father's Catholic tyranny." Waller concludes that "James's daughters...had a far greater sense of political reality than he did. They had done what they believed was right for their kingdoms and the Protestant religion....They had presided over the painful transition from the turbulence of the seventeeth to the stability of the eighteenth century, heralding a more tolerant society, an age of booming commerce when Great Britain finally took its place as a great power in the world." Waller's fluent narrative is solidly grounded, with an eight-page bibliography (including material from the Royal Library and the Royal Archives at Windsor) and 32 pages of notes. A 16-page photo insert-with reproductions of paintings from the Royal Collection-makes a significant visual contribution. Recommended for academic and all public libraries.-Robert C. Jones, Warrensburg, MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Densely detailed biographies of the Protestant sisters who betrayed their Catholic father James to become queens of England. Unnecessarily repetitive as she initially describes in extensive outline events and figures later repeated in more closely examined sections, British historian Waller (1700: Scenes from London Life, 2000, etc.) nonetheless tells a stirring and important story. Important, because it reminds us that 17th-century Europe too was plagued by seemingly intractable religious differences: conflict between Protestants and Catholics caused the devastating Thirty Year’s War, ended religious toleration in France (where the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685), and brought exile for England’s Catholic King James II. Waller begins with the birth in 1688 of a healthy son to James and his second wife. Fearing that this birth secured the monarchy and the country for Catholicism, English Protestants invited James’ elder daughter Mary and her Dutch husband, William of Orange, to invade England and become King and Queen. The author then circles back to tell the story of James’s first wife, mother of Mary and Anne, his second marriage to an Italian princess, and his flight to France. James was a loving father, but his devoutly Anglican daughters became alarmed as they saw him working to restore Catholic domination. Anne, married to a Danish prince, deliberately passed on rumors that her father’s baby was not his own and that the queen had never been pregnant. James fled, deeply hurt by the treachery of his offspring. Mary became a much loved figure during her brief reign, Anne succeeded her in 1694, and upon Anne’s death in 1714, the English crown passed to James I’s German (andProtestant) great-grandson, George I. The daughters’ actions ultimately secured the throne for Anglicanism, prevented civil war, and strengthened parliamentary democracy. Colorful period details (Mary introduced chintz and blue china) and vivid portraits of legendary figures like the great Duke of Marlborough: lively, instructive history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312307127
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,109,480
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Maureen Waller was educated at University College London, where she studied medieval and modern history. She received a master's degree at Queen Mary College, London, in British and European History 1660-1714. After a brief stay at the National Portrait Gallery, she went on to work as an editor at several prestigious London publishing houses. Her first book was the highly acclaimed 1700: Scenes from London Life. She lives in London with her husband, who is a journalist and author.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgements xiii
Genealogical Table xiv
Cast of Characters in the Royal Family xvii
Author's Note xxiii
Prologue 1
Part 1 The Family
1. Queen Mary Beatrice 11
2. Princess Anne of Denmark 47
3. Princess Mary of Orange 83
4. King James II 119
5. Prince William of Orange 159
Part 2 The Revolution
6. The Birth of James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales 189
7. Betrayal 213
8. Flight 240
9. The Takeover 260
Part 3 Consequences
10. The Quarrel 293
11. An Untimely Death 321
12. The Succession 340
13. Broken Promises 368
Notes 403
Bibliography 435
Index 443
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    great book

    this book was so interesting and I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to learn about this crucial event in English history. if you think that this book looks hard to read think again it is easy and fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2011

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